Bilan 2010

I haven’t yet written any sort of New Year’s post. I’m not really a New Year’s type person. Usually when New Year’s Eve rolls around, I feel like lying on the couch under a blanket and watching a movie, if not napping. My New Year’s Eves out have always been a little disappointing (even the one in London in 2006). So even though people think it’s sad when I say I spent the 31st on the plane, I didn’t really mind.

But I think it would be remiss not to remark that 2010 was sort of a turning point year for me. Maybe every year since 2005 has been a turning point year… but I still think this one’s worth commenting on.

I was re-reading the posts in my Arrivals/Departures category this evening, especially the ones about leaving Reims in 2008 to move to Austin for the year, and about how sure I was that I wanted to give France a try. France feels really different now from how it felt then, and I think that’s part new-found familiarity, part lack of desperation over an impending departure. There was a point where I said that if I could have repeated my year in Reims from the beginning, I would. I don’t feel that way anymore. I think things have only gotten better since then. The only year I would repeat if I could is my assistant year. It’s funny, I got an e-mail from an assistantship applicant the other year asking “how my assistant year was,” and it was really difficult to sum up entirely how much fun it was, and how much I learned, and how long it took me to stop missing it.

But I think I’ve stopped. Seeing Zandra four or five times last year helped me get over it and believe that there are still some shenanigans in my future. So while I’m on the topic, here are some other highlights from 2010 for me (stop reading here if you’re already bored!):

January: Return to France, big depression, another visit to Avignon, and I made the decision to move to centre ville. Starting sort of going out with Nicknameless boy. (Would rather delete this part from the highlights but I think it’s actually pretty important.) Met my super cool Canadian friend Tara.

February: Continued sort of going out with Nicknameless boy. Hung out with Sarah K and Zandra in Paris as well as my ex-students A, T, and C. It was awe—wait for it—some. Came back home and signed the lease on my apartment.

March: Moved to centre ville. Visited La Rochelle, St. Emilion, and Medoc with my parents. St. Emilion was really beautiful in early spring.

April: Starting hanging out more back at the coloc. Sliced finger open and fell on my butt really hard. Things with Nicknameless boy tanked and ended, which at the time was pretty depressing. Hung out almost constantly with my super cool Canadian friend Tara.

May: Made the gut-wrenching (well, almost) decision to pass the CAFEP CAPES in 2011 (“2011”), which felt like taking a huge leap into the unknown and like opening myself up for endless intellectual criticism and judgment. Signed up with the CNED, and mailed off my diploma to the ENIC-NARIC to get validated.

June: As classes wound down I spent more time back at the coloc, a lot of it watching the World Cup. Honestly if I had had my own television and the World Cup hadn’t been on, I’m not sure J and I would have gotten together in June! But we did, on my birthday (more or less), and it feels like the first entirely normal, really promising relationship I’ve had, once I got over my stupid hesitations about him being a whole year younger than me.

July: I went down to Avignon during the festival for the last bit of major Zandra-world fun of 2010. I started studying for the CAPES during the day and doing super cool fun stuff at night, including meeting up with Gavin from our assistant year! (Am going to meet up with him again and Laura from my assistant year in Nancy in less than two weeks!) This was definitely a high point of 2010 for me.

August: Hung out in Poitiers while J was off climbing in Alsace and Austria. Spent most of my time with my super cool Canadian friend Tara. CAPESed most of my afternoons. Had a serious mental crisis when a CNED prof told me my French was clearly very weak. Go feck yourself, useless CNED prof.

All in all summer 2010 was a really nice, stress-free time, with fewer people at the coloc and fewer students in town making noise. The weather was beautiful, the music festivals were fun, and the aperos on the bar terraces seemed endless.

September: Super cool Canadian friend Tara moved to Shanghai. Balls. Met new replacement anglophone (American) friend Dan. Started classes back up at the end of the month.

October: Not a whole lot jumps to mind about October. I spent a week-end in Paris with my ex-students A and C. I did a lot of studying.

November: Of course I can’t remember anything about November except the CAPES written exams, which, now that they’re over, feel like a lifetime ago.

December: Reveled in new-found CAPES-less freedom. Went home for Christmas!

2010 was good to me even though it had a rough start. It feels like I’ve delved much further into non-foreigner French life: my own apartment, the CAPES, a new boyfriend. Living in France has lost some of the romance it had when I had to try so hard to stay or to come back. Sometimes I have to remind myself how special it is, and how lucky I am. My newest (and probably short-lived) resolution after coming back from the States is to try to keep more of my natural American friendliness, and remember to assume strangers are probably nice people. And now, I must go to bed. This jet-lag + 8 am classes are killing me.


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